Sonoma: Jack Beckman preview

NO PRESSURE, BUT BECKMAN COULD ADD TO NHRA'S HISTORY IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2007) - Jack Beckman has a new nickname, according to NHRA's official publication National Dragster. It's "Back-to-back" Jack. He earned this moniker after...

NO PRESSURE, BUT BECKMAN COULD ADD TO NHRA'S HISTORY IN SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2007) - Jack Beckman has a new nickname, according to NHRA's official publication National Dragster. It's "Back-to-back" Jack. He earned this moniker after winning both Denver and Seattle - two of the three consecutive Western Swing events.

If Jack were to again emerge victorious in this weekend's Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, he would become only the second Funny Car driver to have swept the Western Swing. The other is 14-time champion John Force, who did it in 1994.

Only five pro drivers in NHRA history have won each event of the Western Swing. Pro Stock racer Greg Anderson was the last pro driver to do it in 2004. The others include Joe Amato (1991, Top Fuel), Cory McClenathan ('97, TF) Larry Dixon ('03, TF), and, of course, Force.

Beckman, who drives the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing in his first full season in the Funny Car class, is under no pressure to accomplish this feat. He's fifth in the points rankings and looking solid for a top-eight spot in the Countdown to the Championship, which begins after the next three events at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.

"Honest to goodness and I've said it before," said Beckman, who in the last five races of 2006, after joining DSR, set both national E.T. and speed records, qualified No. 1 once, and scored one win in two final rounds. "The beginning of this year I thought we would be successful from the get-go, and it's been such a humbling year for every single team."

In the first half of 2007, Beckman lost in the first round four times and did not qualify twice. He's made a strong surge in the last seven events to go from 11th in points to fifth.

"I just want to qualify in Sonoma," Beckman added. "And then when we qualify, win the first round. Even though we've got the hot Funny Car right now, thanks to tuners Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and the entire MTS team, I think everybody's being humble about this."

Beckman, a cancer survivor, a former Air Force sergeant, the 2003 NHRA Super Comp champ and instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School in Pomona, Calif., has history at Infineon Raceway. "I've won a divisional there in my Super Comp car. I raced there probably a dozen times over the years. I love the facility. Even though it's not a home track for me, I've got so many Sportsman racer friends and students in the area, that it's going to be kind of a homecoming. It's going to be fun after winning back-to-back to races to come back and see all those people."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force , Joe Amato , Greg Anderson , Cory McClenathan , Jack Beckman , Frank Hawley